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American Bulldog

My boyfriend and I met two years ago; our relationship and bond grew quickly. My cocker spaniel, Smootchie, and I moved into the three bedroom condo with Chris and his 120 lb American Bulldog, Nikki. If you know anything about this breed you know American Bulldogs are very protective and trust is something you have to earn. With time Smootchie adopted and adored Chris as her Daddy while I slowly gained ground with Nikki. Soon there was an unbreakable bond between me and this 120 monster. Smootchie loved playing with toys and eventually Nikki became interested. So, I took many many trips to the pet supply purchasing "tuffies" and the extreme toys made for large breeds. However, Smootchie's toys caught Nikki's eye every once in awhile. Often Nikki would rip open the toy and pull out all the stuffing then spit out each peice that dared touch his tounge.
Normally when Chris and I were not home, the dogs were placed in the kennel until one of us returned. On occasion we would leave them out if we expected our absence to be short. One day I left to go grocery shopping (approx 1 hour trip) and I decided I would leave them out of their kennels. When I came home, I found Nikki with a pouty face and shredded ducky all over the floor.
This was not the first time an animal had found its way into Nikki's tummy. Usually the following day is filled with expelling the reminants from one of two ends. This course of toy ingestion ran the same pathway, but this food loving dog lost interest in everything including peanut butter. He began losing weight and so we decided to take him to the vet. After ultrasound and xray the vet had recommended surgical removal of the remains.
The surgery was expected to take 45 minutes, but it took just over two hours. The staff was great informing us that our four legged son was okay it was just the procedure that was taking longer than expected. Although he was in a sleepy state, Nikki was able to raise his head and look to see his mommy and daddy by his side in recovery. The surgery ended at 7 pm. At 10 pm I called the vet tech to get an update before I attempted to sleep. To my amazement, Nikki "has such a good attitude," began looking better, and walked outside to potty. The tech put the phone to his ear and I told him that his Mommy and Daddy loved him so very much and that we would see him in the morning.
The call came at 3 am. The only words my boyfriend heard was: breathing, Vtach, and we lost him. Tears resisted until I could comprehend the words. We returned to the vet where I bent down and laid my head on his body absorbing the last bit of warmth. Chris knelt next to me and tears filled his face. Although the surgery went well, the doctor thought that a clot had formed and made its way to the heart or the lungs.
We never saw it coming.

Has anyone else had this experience?

In order to save money we decided to forgo pre-lab work. This was a otherwise healthy dog, his blood should be fine. Did I make a mistake? He was vomiting and had diarrhea. Was his potassium levels off? If so would it have taken so long for altered potassium levels to cause an effect?

I feel so guilty. I wish I could have been there so he didn't pass away alone without his mommy or daddy. I just hang on to the opportunity I had to say that we loved him over the phone.
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Oh I am so very sorry you lost your Nikki. It's always one of the meanest cruellest things life throws at us to lose any loved family member, but it's even worse when it comes as a shock, and a recovery is expected.
That's the unpredictable side of surgery I'm afraid. I know it's not much comfort to you to say "these things happen"...but unfortunately, they do sometimes.
In both humans and animals, there is always a risk that a blood clot will get loose after surgery. It can happen in the very fit and healthy, it can happen in the very sick, it really is a question of the worst luck. And as far as I know, there isn't much the vet can do about this.

Frequently pre-surgery, and often post-surgery too, IV fluids are given to hydrate and regulate the electrolyte balance, so I doubt if this happened as a result of a potassium imbalance.
The clot was one of those classic "surgery risks" by the sound of it, that vets and doctors outline usually before surgery. It doesn't happen very often, but it CAN happen, and not much can be done to prevent it as far as I know.

He would have heard your voice on the phone, it would have meant something to him. At the very end, he probably wouldn't have known what hit him, it would have happened quite quickly. At night-time like that, he probably was sleeping when it happened, or in a dozing state, sleeping off the remains of the anesthetic. I honestly don't think he would have had time to pine for you to be there. I know that doesn't help much. You feel you should have been by his side -I know. I would feel exactly the same.

It was only a short time you knew that good dog and had his friendship, but that time was valuable and wonderful.
It's very sad, and I am so sorry.

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Your words are very kind and comforting. Sometimes we look for things we could have done to have prevented a poor situation.Getting through this has been hard. I normally handle stress by talking about it. The person I usually talk to is my boyfriend and each time I bring up my feelings regarding our loss it brings him down. It's been one month as of today and I have had a few days now that I've gone without crying. I've come to realize exactly what you stated; I've had a few wonderful years and lots of great memories. I'm getting stronger and will continue to get stronger as time goes on.

On a better note, we got a puppy on Friday, Dekker. It's the same breed (American Bulldog), but we made sure his markings were very different. Also, now that we have him we notice a huge difference in personality between our Nikki and the new puppy Dekker.

Thank you so very much for your support.
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675347_tn?1365464245
Oh that is good news! Good luck with getting to know Dekker. I am sure he will have a long and happy life with you, who cared so much for your Nikki.

Yes, they are all different aren't they? Different ways of doing things, different characters. I wish you all the best with your new puppy. If there are ever any questions you might have, please don't forget about us all! I am sure there will be someone here with some advice or someone to share the laughs with!
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441382_tn?1329196690
I am so so sorry about your Nikki.  Without a necropsy it is virtually impossible to tell what happened.  It could have been any number of things, probably none of which could have been foreseen or prevented.  Nikki HAD to have the surgery.  The remnants of the toy he ate were threatening his life, so no matter what the results of pre-surgical bloodwork were, he NEEDED the surgery.  You did what you had to do to try to help him.

ALL surgery, no matter how major or minor, has risks.  Whenever an animal (or even a human, for that matter) undergoes anesthesia there is a risk.  Nikki knew that you loved him.  He heard your voice over the phone, and even though you were not there physically he was comforted by the sound of your voice.  Keep him in your heart and he'll always be with you.  I lost my beloved Collie not long ago and it crushed me, I feel your pain and loss completely.  

Congratulations on having Dekker come to live with you.  He will help to ease your pain while you forge a new, lifelong bond with him.  I wish you many happy years together!

Ghilly
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You guys have all been really comforting. I feel as though you understand. Many people love their pets but often I don't feel as though they completely get it. However, it seems like you guys understand much more cause your passion for pets is noted in your words. I got a card from my boyfriend's mother and near the end it stated, "Time will ease the pain, but the happy memories will be with you forever." I thank you so much for your time in comforting me. What a wonderful community
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We hope you will stay around and be a part of our community so that we can see how Dekker progresses as he grows!  There is a lot to be learned by hanging out here, and everyone has something to contribute when others come here asking for help.  Please consider becoming a permanent member of our community!

Ghilly
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Yesterday I decided that I wanted to take a little action. I emailed the major pet supply companies and the manufacture of the floppy moppy toy to notify them of the dangers. I was happy when the manufacture wrote back immediately with sincere apologies and told me my letter would be sent to corporate. The letter was stated in a "just so ya know" kind of way that was non threatening. I feel much better now that I got it out and on paper to someone who may be able to make a change.
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